Stop Telling Me What I Should Be Wearing!
Having had the previous two posts going round in my head on beauty, fashion and design and its recent troll through celebrity aesthetic hell. I was pleasantly surprised to see my favourite fashion blogger Susie Bubble echo similar sentiments in one of her posts this week ; that is things like gender, size and age should be inclusive, mixed up and not fashionably-the-next-big-thing because you are size 16 so sod off all you has-been soooo last year skinny’s.
Exactly that fact I have noticed for a while now. It has been presenting itself in many forms other than the actual clothes themselves in an industry which is so concerned with its own fashionability; it seems there has to be the dumped fad in order for the new to *take its place*. Things like body shape, age and gender have been passed around like the new holy grail and so at the same time excluding the others.
But joy of joys I was even more chuffed to see this attitude is also being solidly and determinedly tackled in the ways that count.
Not only, as with Susie’s site, is fashion finally seeing a more creative personal touch imbued back with the wearer; (and all that copy-cat *get the look* *or look square* bullying pseudo creativity pushed by soooo many mags and media of late). But the fashion industry is also, 5 years-on, way up there with the grass roots education of sustainable fashion HurrrraH!.
The interview style here is a weee bit fashion-speak-cringey but gets the message across;
Susie Bubble has a more informative video-interview link on her post from London College of Fashion's Centre for Sustainable Fashion's Esthetica show at L F W
It was 5 years ago in November that I visited Fashioning an Ethical Industry held at the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street, London (designer Zandra Rhodes bought the building and founded it in ’95 and she lives on the top floor). I did a post about the discussions and ways people like Katherine Hamnett were sourcing and manufacturing (in her case from beginning to end by buying a factory in India) to ensure total fair-trade and organic production.
It was very refreshing to hear that the designers at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, who hold Esthetica were adapting in ways that were appropriate for them, as a decisive move toward sustainable fashion even if they couldn’t do it as totally as Hamnett has.
And so by not doing the whole ethical remit thing it didnt equate with failure; I was really pleased that this had taken on so quickly, as change takes time but the thinking is in place and is taking effect.
And as for the clothes themselves some of the ideas of longevity and adaptation in pieces really appeal to me especially as I have a habit of finding one item of clothing that I really like – and wear and wear till its threadbare.
I know it must have been a nice buzz if you were 16 a few years ago to buy a so-cheap top that said FASHION very loudly but was falling apart at the seams one night after you had worn it, hey-ho-no-matter-buy-a-new-one-next-Saturday attitude. But maybe the hugeness of all that cheap, cheap, and cheaper is waning.
The FEI also had a special appearance from Pierre Garroudi a designer who I love. His studio is a few doors down from The Textile Museum in a gallery like space. He was at the time cutting up pieces and remaking them.
image courtesy of fortunespawn
So again I was encouraged to hear others at esthetica, saying they were using end of line pieces and re-working them.
This is a far cry from the late nineties and early 2000’s emersion into a deeper and deeper projection by that heady mix of industry media and celebrity into a must have uniform-of-the-day rather than fashion as a source of creative inspiration for the end user.
This thing of creative expression in clothing especially, I first remember thinking about at the time I saw Kai Altoff’s exhibition at the Stedelijk in 1995.
An excerpt from the Exhibition Book of Wild Walls:
“ Kai Altoff has alluded to the notion of collectivity. Active as a member of the experimental group Workshop, which has a certain cult status in Germany, he has shown drawings of the fictitious music group The Ashleys at one of his first exhibitions in 1993. On the album covers, the members of the band pose, uniformly dressed in the *Biba* style of the early seventies. In a later series of drawings, he portraits three young women who are members of a commune. They wear their shoulder length hair with a part down the middle and look very much like each other. It is only by way of small detail in their dress, such as a different collar or the colour of a blouse that any individuality can be seen.
In the communal, self sufficient society, the individual became almost entirely absorbed in a group. The utopia of a shared, anti bourgeois life in a commune reached its prime at the start of the seventies. The desire for social change was accompanied by a withdrawal to a pre-modern form of cohabitation, which could give structure and direction to one’s personal life, albeit within a cooperative. It is this paradox of personal and at the same time, communal life that Altoff addresses in his work. His images, often situated at a particular point in German history, occupy the field of tension between collectivity and individuality.”
Apologies for the quality, as I have taken these straight from the original 1995 book Wild Walls which has been well thumbed and used!
Uniforms – no matter how well intentioned are just that – all the same. And although recent times have had a lets copy (design worn by x y z) aesthetic, down to the cheap sweat shop repo’s that came right back at the sensibilities of the original designers.
The results were similar in a way to Altoff’s perceptions, and I thought had a bit of a weird-scary feel, as any chance of a personal flourish wasn’t exactly encouraged.
Design/fashion/media industry as control freaks?
But anyways, at least the fashion police didn’t happen in real life proper, so all this new news is a refreshing change. Viva La difference!
And a new series of Lives of Artists is brewing......more details in the next post this Wednesday